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154622 - Patricia Merchand v Richard L. Carpenter, M.D.

Patricia Merchand,
Linda L. Widener
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Ingham – Aquilina, R.)
Richard L. Carpenter, M.D.,
Robert G. Kamenec
Mid-Michigan Ear, Nose, and Throat, P.C.,


Plaintiff Patricia Merchand filed suit against defendant Richard L. Carpenter, M.D., alleging that he committed medical malpractice during a 2010 surgery, resulting in permanent injury. A jury returned a judgment of no cause of action in defendant’s favor. The Court of Appeals reversed in a split unpublished per curiam decision, holding that the trial court had abused its discretion by not allowing one of plaintiff’s experts to testify that medical records in other cases where defendant had been accused of malpractice were similar and that they purportedly did not accurately reflect his interactions with patients when surgeries resulted in serious complications. The Court of Appeals majority also affirmed the trial court’s decision to instruct the jury on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself). The dissenting judge would have held that the trial court properly excluded the evidence relating to defendant’s other malpractice cases, and would have held that the trial court erred in giving the res ipsa loquitur instruction. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address whether the medical records and testimony sought to be admitted were admissible under MRE 404(b).